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What is Paid, Owned and Earned Media?

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You may have heard the terms paid, owned and earned media or its abbreviation POEM in recent times. These terminologies have gained wide popularity as more and more organisations and brands are moving from a single-medium marketing strategy to a converged three medium online strategy. It is true that these marketing channels existed earlier, even before these terms became popular, but with the difference that marketers are now looking at online media with a clearer holistic view after the emergence of the marketing trio. Here is a simplified version what each medium means and its role in your marketing strategy.

Paid Media

Going by the name, paid media is paid for or purchased. This is when you pay a third-party channel to promote your content or to drive traffic to your ‘owned media’. It includes both the traditional offline media as well as the online media, where an investment is required to get your message out to the target audience in a timely manner. Organisations and brands often rely on paid media while launching a new product/ service, sales promotion or brand building, as in today’s scenario having an owned or earned media isn’t enough to cut through the noise and convey the brand message.

Traditional Paid Media includes:

  • TV and Radio Ads
  • Print Ads
  • Other offline paid promotions

Online Digital Paid Media includes:

  • Display Ads
  • Google AdWords
  • Paid Search
  • Social media advertising and sponsored updates
  • Content discovery services such as Outbrain and Taboola
  • Or anything that you pay for to convey a message or promote a product/ brand

Owned Media

Owned Media refers to all the marketing assets that belongs to your brand or company. It includes all the media channels which you own or where you can dictate, control and manage the content that’s published and track how users are engaged. The quality of owned media and the owned media experience plays a critical role in converting a prospect into a customer, as the paid and earned media only acts as a catalyst for this final destination- owned media. Higher the number of owned media properties, greater the chances of brand exposure and conversion.

Owned Media includes:

  • Website
  • Blogs
  • Social media channels
  • Apps
  • Magazines
  • Brochures
  • Any other unique media channels owned by your brand

Earned Media

Going again by the name, earned media is what you have not paid for nor what you own, but it’s the coverage earned through your customers and fans in the form of shares, reposts, reviews and others. It is often referred to as the online version of “word-of-mouth”, as it has the power to turn a news into a ‘viral’, drawing attention of potential customers and turning them into brand advocates and evangelists. Though earned media is one of the most valuable form of coverage, it is also the most difficult one to acquire, as unlike paid and owned media, one cannot dictate or control what is shared in the online landscape. It’s is completely in the hands of the users.

Earned Media includes:

  • Online reviews
  • Retweets
  • Facebook Likes
  • Social media shares
  • YouTube comments
  • Bloggers writing about your product
  • All other forms of online word-of-mouth. If a paid media such as a video ad is shared in the social media, this becomes earned media.

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